When you walk into the CloudHealth headquarters in Boston’s Seaport District, you can feel the energy in the open, brightly colored 6,000-sqare-foot space. Since its inception four years ago, CloudHealth—a company that helps companies manage cloud data—raised over $40 million in funding and achieved significant growth with a 130 percent year-over-year revenue increase, over 1,000 customers, and 150 employees.
During NewCo Boston 2017, more than 30 professionals gathered to hear Dan Phillips, the honest, no-nonsense serial entrepreneur who co-founded CloudHealth and now serves as CEO. In his dynamic presentation, Phillips shared his lessons for pursuing business success in a highly competitive market:
- Create a business process that can be replicated
Phillips’ ecosystem is the Boston tech community. The VCs he met in his first startup brought him into his second company, which was an evolution of the technology from the first company. In every company he has founded, he’s used the same business process. Sometimes it works, sometimes it fails. When faced with failure, his advice is to learn from it, make changes, and re-invent the process.
- Pick the industry or market you want to focus on
While many professionals are eager to try many different things, Phillips recommends becoming an expert in a particular area. The longer you do it, he says, the more domain expertise you have and the more value you bring.
- Know who you are as a company–don’t wait until you build the perfect product
Phillips says you should know who you are as a company and how to explain it. Go into the market before you’ve built the product and explain what you are trying to do. Make sure you nail the unique value proposition—how you are helping your customer—and test it hundreds of times. Define your persona—who they are, what they do, and what they look like—and then get feedback. Next, build the minimum viable product and then test the value proposition again, get feedback, and go through this iterative process.
- Get ready to scale
Build an engine that is connected together and that features repeatable processes, systems, and procedures so that you can add exponentially more customers. Then, set your guardrails—for CloudHealth, it was getting 150 clients to buy in. In fact, Phillips said that the company’s theme is “to scale everything.”
- Build a purposeful culture
With a powerful, inspiring corporate culture, you can more easily hire talented employees, onboard them successfully, and motivate them to make an impact. One of the most important features of CloudHealth’s culture is transparency. Employees are exposed to everything and have the opportunity to continually learn. They’re also incentivized to meet corporate goals with big rewards like a trip to Turks and Caicos.
Phillip’s parting words of wisdom? “You just need to work your ass off. You have to love the process. You must be completely synced up with your customer and have the pulse of the market ahead of anyone else. And just when you think you need to build more things, don’t. Just do a couple of right things.”